Pizza is a dish that everybody loves, with its fragrance, its crunchiness that contrasts with the tasty and stringy sauce, with its contrasting and bright colors. What if it turns out that pizza, as well as being delicious, is also a healthy, well-balanced dish capable of counteracting inflammation, tumors and diseases of the cardiovascular system? Surely you would eat it with even more taste! Well, then get ready to do it since pizza guarantees precisely these properties, as stated by a very recent scientific research published in the journal Nutrients thanks to the work of an Italian and American team (De Vito et al, Nutrients, July 2023).
Long live the pizza
Pizza is one of the most loved and known dishes worldwide. And two particular events have contributed to his fame, namely the establishment of the World Pizza Day, the world day dedicated to pizza, and the proclamation as UNESCO intangible heritage of the art of the Neapolitan pizza maker. However, despite the huge diffusion of pizza, there are few studies dedicated to its health benefits. Among these, we can cite the research that observed that eating pizza protects the heart and reduces the risk of heart attack, or even the study that showed that pizza contrasts some types of cancer, such as those of the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus and colon. The study we are talking about today focuses on the effect of pizza consumption on inflammation, and in particular in the case of a disease that depends on inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Pizza reduces inflammation, the study
Scientists recruited 366 adults, aged between 18 and 65 and all with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Study participants completed questionnaires about their eating habits and underwent medical checkups to assess disease status and symptoms. What has emerged is that those who consume pizza more frequently, at least once a week, have a reduction in symptoms that can even reach 80% compared to those who consume pizza less than twice a month. This very important benefit can be traced back to the ability of pizza to counteract chronic inflammation. It is believed, as stated in the study, that the two ingredients that most participate in this precious property of pizza are extra virgin olive oil and mozzarella.
Pizza is therefore able to reduce chronic inflammation and to bring benefits in the case of diseases that depend on an increase in inflammation. But that's not all, as research has shown, pizza is a synergy of substances and properties that make it unique and a truly complete meal. In fact, pizza is well balanced and provides carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Pizza is also easily digestible thanks to the quality ingredients used and the temperature at which it is cooked, and this is also useful in case of reflux. The tomato cooked with extra virgin olive oil, which is the main condiment for pizza, increases the antioxidant power of this dish, making lycopene, which is a powerful anticancer agent contained in tomatoes, available and assimilable. Extra virgin olive oil is a rich source of polyphenols and resists well to high cooking temperatures, while mozzarella, like other dairy products, has shown an important anti-inflammatory action, as well as being able to reduce the glycemic index of the carbohydrates in the dough. In short, green light to pizza, good and healthy!